ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — As May approaches, the group that monitors and regulates Lake Ontario’s water level is predicting little to no flooding along the shoreline.
This news comes after 2017 and 2019 saw some of the most destructive flooding in recent memory.
The International Joint Commission’s Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board held an online public information session this week in which they laid out the lake’s current status.
“This year, we’re really looking at a more normal-to-average range of water level fluctuations,” said Bryce Carmichael, an IJC spokesperson.
Past flooding was mainly driven by exceptionally high water levels that produced destructive waves.
This past winter, Carmichael says ideal conditions allowed them to send the needed amount of water out of Lake Ontario and into the St. Lawrence River, which, in turn, set the stage for normal spring levels.
Carmichael says the Lake Ontario water level is currently 246.56 feet (75.15 m) and has been rising approximately 0.2 inches a day over the last two weeks.
“We expect this seasonal rise to slow down but continue for the next few weeks before reaching its seasonal crest,” Carmichael said.
In fact, the only real concern, Carmichael says, is the potential for lower-than-average water levels this summer, which could impact impact recreational activities.
“As the summer moves on and conditions dry out we could be seeing a slightly higher risk of lower water impacts,” Carmichael said.
Meanwhile, a subcommittee of the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board is just now wrapping up Phase 1 of a review of the controversial plan the IJC uses to regulate the lake — Plan 2014.
Some people blame Plan 2014 for the flooding in 2017 and 2019 claiming it tied the board’s hands, preventing them from taking needed action, while the IJC maintains the flooding was largely caused by extreme weather conditions.
Still, Phase 1 looked into situations in which the board might be allowed to deviate from Plan 2014.
Informing that review were deviations the board did make over the last year.
Phase 2 is just now getting underway and will explore potential changes to Plan 2014 itself.
That process is set to be complete in three years.